Illinois: Series race report

Can't Stop ARCA Rookie Kligerman on Springfield Mile-Dirt; Becomes Youngest Winner of Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds SPRINGFIELD IL (8-23-09) - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Parker Kligerman, in his first-ever dirt track attempt,...

Can't Stop ARCA Rookie Kligerman on Springfield Mile-Dirt; Becomes Youngest Winner of Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds

SPRINGFIELD IL (8-23-09) - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Parker Kligerman, in his first-ever dirt track attempt, padded his point lead Sunday afternoon with a historic victory in the 47th running of the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile-dirt in Springfield.

By doing so, Kligerman, 19, surpassed Justin Allgaier - who was 20 at the time - as the youngest winner of the annual stock car classic.

Ironically, it was Allgaier who offered advice to Kligerman right before the start. Both drivers race under the Penske Racing banner.

"Before practice Justin Allgaier came up to the car and just sort of told me to watch out for certain things," said Kligerman. "He told me not to be worried and gave me little pointers-just confidence building stuff. Before the race he came up to the car and gave me a rundown of everything that I should do. 'Watch out for this; don't do this. Definitely don't do this.' And I think those tips were a huge part of it. I think that's what kept us from being freight-trained."

Kligerman, who started second in the Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, pitted out of sequence and much later than the majority of the front-runners which buried him deep in the field near the halfway point. However, Kligerman methodically maneuvered his way back toward the front, picking cars off one by one just in time to challenge for the win.

"It was just car by car. Here, the track is one groove. You've got to be inside or you're going backwards. And I tried really hard every time to get my nose to the inside and at that point they have to give up the position. And we just kept doing that, and doing that and then especially in the braking zone, going down in there harder than them; and if you can get down inside of them they have to give up the position."

Kligerman, after some contact, got underneath Justin Lofton on lap 89 of the scheduled 100 lap/100 mile race and never looked back.

"Me and Lofton had a little bit of a deal and I didn't want to get into him. We were just racing hard and that's how it is," added Kligerman. Ron Cox, who led 11 laps in Wayne Hixson's Dan Shaver Memorial Scholarship Chevrolet, finished a career-best second about 10 lengths away.

"We've been trying since '99 to finish in the top-three," said Cox. "It took a long time to get here; it's really exciting to finally do it. I want to thank the Dan Shaver Memorial Scholarship and Hixson Motorsports. Maybe we can do one better at DuQuoin."

Patrick Sheltra finished third in the Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge. "It wasn't too bad; the Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge was good today," said Sheltra. "We thought about coming in and taking tires, but we would have given up too much track position. But I love it here; it's like going back to grass roots racing."

Galesburg, Illinois favorite AJ Fike finished fourth in the RFMS-Liberty Village Ford. Fort Frances, Ontario's Steve Arpin, in his first Springfield appearance, was fifth in the Pinewood Sports Chevrolet.

Frank Kimmel, who finished ninth, also etched his name further into the record books after the Clarksville, Indiana veteran led 34 laps during the race. By doing so, Kimmel surpassed the 10,000 laps-led mark bringing his career total to 10,028 laps-led overall.

"Overall and in the grand scheme of things, today was good day for Kimmel Racing," said Kimmel. "To lead laps and to reach the milestone of 10,000 laps led was a huge accomplishment for us. At the end of the day, though, anything but a win is a bit of a disappointment here at Springfield. The right side tires just had somewhat of a blistering feel to them there from the middle of the race on. It's just not the result we hoped for but what can you do but go on to the next one and keep our head in the game as we focus on getting the first win for Ansell and Menards."

Eight cautions for a variety of spins and wall-bangers slowed the race for 42 laps, including a late-race caution that ultimately lengthened the race to 103 laps to accommodate the ARCA-mandated green flag finish. Although it would come down to a two-lap dash to the checkers with 18 cars still on the lead lap, no driver had anything for Kligerman in the end. Kligerman led 18 laps overall, including the final 15 circuits.

Lofton, who earned the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell with a new one lap track record (110.592 mph), led the most laps overall (40) but faded in the late stages of the race after Kligerman got underneath him. Lofton eventually finished sixth in front of veteran Ken Schrader, who brought his own Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet home in seventh.

Will Kimmel, in his first dirt track attempt, was eighth in front of Uncle Frank in ninth. Matt Merrell finished 10th in the Red Line Oil Dodge.

The ARCA RE/MAX Series travels next to Chicagoland Speedway for the Ansell Cut Protection 150 this Friday, August 28.

-credit: arca

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Ken Schrader , Frank Kimmel , Ron Cox , Dan Shaver , Justin Allgaier , Justin Lofton , Patrick Sheltra , Steve Arpin , Parker Kligerman , Will Kimmel , Matt Merrell
Teams Team Penske